As the Covid-19 pandemi continues to rage in many countries, straining health systems and economies, scientists in Germany have warned that an older Covid-19 variant named A.30 has resistance to the Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid vaccines.
The journal 'Cellular & Molecular Immunology' published a peer-reviewed study on October 25, 2021, stating, "the SARS-CoV-2 variant A.30 can evade control by vaccine-induced antibodies and might show an increased capacity to enter cells in a cathepsin L-dependent manner, which might particularly aid in the extrapulmonary spread."
A.30: Highly-Efficient in Escaping Vaccine-Induced Antibodies
The scientists in Germany said, "Consequently, the potential spread of the A.30 variant warrants close monitoring and rapid installment of countermeasures." According to the study published in Nature, the A.30 variant probably originated in Tanzania and was detected in individuals in Angola and in Sweden.
The A.30 variant showed improved ability to enter most host cells, including kidney, liver, and lung cells. As per the research, the mutation "enters certain cell lines with increased efficiency and evades antibody-mediated neutralization."
Is There Really Anything to Worry About?
The variant, on the other hand, has not been detected for months, with the last A.30 samples reported between May and June this year, according to the Newsweek.
According to the data from GISAID, about five cases of the A.30 variant exist throughout the world. Three of them are in Angola, one is in Sweden and one more exists in the United Kingdom. GISAID provides open-access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet listed A.30 as a variant of interest or concern, due to its low prevalence.
Scientists Have Mixed Views on the Variant
Brian Hjelle, a professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of New Mexico, tweeted, "A.30 variant, compared with wild type B.1, indeed has impressive array of mutations and is approaching true immune escape. Needs watching."
Jeremy Kamil, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport, said, "It's probably already extinct."
According to Prof. Cyrille Cohen, the head of the immunology lab at Bar-Ilan University, A.30 is most likely already extinct and there is no need to be overly concerned about it.
"It could be that a variant can evade the immune system in the lab but it cannot spread fast, it does not infect a lot of people and therefore it disappears," he said, according to The Jerusalem Post.